Posted by: Postordinandy | April 9, 2009

God and the small things

We had our friend Matt Perry with us again recently. He is the Centre Director for Worth Unlimited here in Waltham Forest, the youth charity we donate our stall profits to.

He shared with us some reflections, and looked at the story of the woman caught in adultery [John 8:2-11]. Matt noted that he has heard many sermons on this – usually about the attitude of the Pharisees, or the fact that we are all sinners, or trying to figure out what Jesus wrote in the sand and its significance…

These things may have merit, but fundamentally it’s a story about Jesus, and how he interacts with those around him. Interestingly, Jesus doesn’t actually talk about forgiveness, or redemption, but basically says to the woman: I don’t condemn you; no one else has hung around to, go and live a different life, a life free of sin – a free life.

Worth Unlimited tries, in small ways, to work with those whom society says are sinners – those who have missed becoming the ‘ideal’ we have for young people – and say there is still hope. Much of the work is centred on a process of helping the young people to consider what life could be like if different choices are made, and to create an environment that allows for these choices.

The wider church is, of course, ostensibly in favour of such initiatives, and Worth has a wide and active support from all kinds of local Christians. Yet the problem remains that, as Matt said:

“Churches speak of reaching the lost, but often the lost want nothing to do with them (& vice versa).”

A key reflection for both Worth and St Luke’s is that our story is so often that the smaller things we do are the ‘best’ things we do: the things that seem to have the most real impact on individual lives. This is not to say that “big is bad”, or even that we should avoid doing anything that requires extensive planning, funding and management; but that we should not dismiss the small as insignificant. Big can quickly become professional, but small usually remains personal.

Compare the impact on this single woman in John 8 with those 5000 men fed in Mark 6. The miraculous feeding of the great crowd with admittedly incredibly limited resources is certainly impressive and speaks of God’s power and provision, amongst other things. But the big crowd go home from a quite-hungry experience, the small, lone woman from a near-death one; the big crowd are filled, the small, lone woman freed; the big crowd encouraged, the small, lone woman changed by a big God who became a small and vulnerable man.

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